Partnership

Role

UNIUD participates in WP3 as a coordinator of the Project, and in WP1 in order to evaluate the water relations of grapevine hybrids and the metabolic response of berries under water deficit. Moreover, in collaboration with UNG, UNIUD will carry out studies on microbiome as affected by water deficit and by the avoidance of fungicides/copper.

 

Key persons involved

Prof. Enrico Peterlunger is full professor of viticulture at the University of Udine. He was involved as coordinator and principal investigator in several international and national research projects. During his career, Peterlunger focused his research mainly evaluating the effects of water stress on plant physiology (abscisic acid signaling from roots to shoots, water relations) and namely on the modification impaired on secondary metabolism (phenolics, aromatics). From 1998 he started an important project dealing with grapevine breeding, and his team in 2015 released ten grapevine hybrids resistant to fungal diseases that were registered at Italian and EU level for cultivation. Moreover, he did extensive research on canopy management and training systems, grapevine nutrition, ampelography with morphological/molecular methods and on endangered local grapevine germplasm of Friuli region.

Dr. Paolo Sivilotti is a researcher in the field of viticulture since 2009, first at the University of Nova Gorica and just recently at the University of Udine. He did extensive research on the effects of water stress on grapevine water relations and berry metabolism, and on the effects of modified cluster microclimate on cluster architecture and secondary metabolism in berries particularly on phenolics and aroma compounds. During his career, he was involved in other research projects dealing with grapevine nutrition (fertigation, leaf feeding), precision viticulture and remote sensing applications, endangered local grapevine germplasm, low input pest management, modifications of plant and soil microbiome induced by viticulture techniques. He has a wide collaboration with other national and international research groups and he was involved in the management of EU projects dealing with viticulture topics.

Role

ISVV will be mainly involved in WP1, in assessing the quantitative relationships between plant water status, sap flow, and changes in metabolic pathways, leading to variation in grape fruit composition. Moreover ISVV will participate in metabolomics and transcriptomics analyses on leaves and berries from vines under water deficit.

 

Key persons involved

Prof. Gregory Gambetta is a professor of viticulture in Bordeaux, working as part of both Bordeaux Sciences Agro and the Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin. His previous experiences have included working as an academic and industrial researcher, science-policy advisor in the California senate, laboratory manager, and educator. Through his work he has been recognized as a Fulbright scholar, U.S. National Science Foundation award recipient, and California Council on Science and Technology fellow. As a plant biologist, his field of research draws heavily on molecular genetics, basic plant physiology, anatomy, and stress physiology. Most recently work has focused on viticulture and grape berry development. The interests of prof. Gambetta are focused on three primary areas: 1) the control of ripening processes, specifically veraison, and how environment and stress impact berry development and berry composition; 2) rootstock effects on scion physiology especially with regard to root water uptake and adaptation to stress (drought, salt, etc.); and 3) vine hydraulics and water relations at the cell, organ, and whole plant levels.

Role

UNG will be involved in metabolomics and transcriptomics studies on leaves and berries of vines under water deficit. In addition, UNG team will collaborate in the analysis of soil rhizosphere microbiome, as affected by water deficit and by the avoidance of fungicides/copper (WP1). UNG will be also involved in WP2 providing data on soil microbiome in water and salinity stress conditions.

 

Key persons involved

Assist. Prof. Lorena Butinar is an expert in the field of microbiology, with focus on fungal ecology and taxonomy, both using classical and novel chemotaxonomic and molecular approaches. She has reach experiences in isolating and studying fungi that inhabit different environments, from extreme environments characterized by high salinity or low temperature to human-associated environments, like vineyards/ orchards. Last few years her research work is oriented on grape/wine microbiology with focus on biology and ecology of yeasts and Botrytis cinerea. Recently she started using also modern cultivation-independent approaches, NGS with ITS barcoding, to study grapevine and apple tree-associated microbiome. For later, she was trained in Prof J. Fay group from Washington University (St. Louis, US). In 2008 established together with her co-workers a new research unit at the UNG, the Wine Research Centre, which she was also running from 2009-2014 and managing a group of approx. 10 researchers. She has also experiences in managing national and international projects, and organizing scientific events and events devoted to professional and producers from the field of viticulture and enology.

Role

IVIA team will take advantage of its competencies in order to test new salinity-tolerant rootstocks and their interaction with scion in a semi-arid environment (WP2). The knowledge generated by this activity will allow predicting new rootstocks behavior under both water stress and salinity conditions.

 

Key persons involved

Dr. Jose Miguel de Paz is an agronomist researcher of the center for the development of the sustainable agriculture (CDAS) that belongs to the Valencia Institute for agricultural research (IVIA). The main research interest is in crop nitrogen fertilization and soil salinity. He has participated as principal researcher and /or coordinator in several national projects related with soil salinity, and also has collaborated in several international projects in irrigation management and nitrogen modeling. Currently he is the coordinator of a scientific group focused on salinity in persimmon crop, and he has several collaborations with other researcher groups working in viticulture as the “Research Institute of Vine and Wine of Leon (Spain)”.

 

Dr. Luis Bonet is the chief of Irrigation Advisory Service at IVIA. The main task of this Service is assist users to adopt new techniques and technologies for more efficient water use on Mediterranean crops as citrus, persimmon, pomegranate, vineyard, etc. He is responsible for the network of weather stations (55 in total) for calculating irrigation needs. The information is provided through a website where you can find advice on irrigation for more than 40 crops. Also, he has extensive experience in soil moisture sensors and their application in conventional agriculture. His advice is often developed through meetings and conferences with farmers and agricultural technicians.

Role

NIB activity will be mainly focused on the transcriptomic analysis (by RNA-seq and qPCR) of leaves and fruits provided by other partners; in detail, gene expression studies will be performed on samples from vines under water deficit (WP1) and exposed to salinity stress (WP2).

 

Key persons involved

Prof. Kristina Gruden is the leader of the Omics Approaches group. With the development of high throughput techniques for study of biological problems she entered the field of systems biology in the area of transcriptomics in late 90s and in recent years started with modelling in systems biology. She began with the introduction of ‘biologist-friendly’ bioinformatics methods which included development of some tools needed for efficient data analysis. She was/is the project manager of several projects founded by Slovenian research agency dealing with development of transcriptomic tools, proteomics and modelling tools and participated in several international projects. She was a coordinator of a work package (including 15 partners, 3 MIO€ budget) in FP6 integrated project Co-Extra. Last year she passed the first stage in evaluation of ERC Consolidator Grants. She is the project manager of several industry founded projects for transcriptomics applications in drug development and drug production. She is a co-author of international patent for a method of alternative protection of plants towards insects and a founder of NIB spin-off company BioSistemika. She is engaged in policy related activities, being scientific counsellor for the Ministry of Science and Technology in the field of systems biology and member of Scientific Committee for work with GMOs in closed system at the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment. She is a partner in ESFRI infrastructures ELIXIR and ISBE.

Prof. Maruša Pompe Novak is the head of Infrastructural Centre Planta at National Institute of Biology and the head of research group of Wine Research Centre at University of Nova Gorica. Her research work focuses in the area of physiology and molecular biology of interactions of plants with disease causing agents, and on the influence of stress on gene expression in plants; the long-term goal is to answer the question, which genes, metabolites and signal molecules are of key importance for the resistance of agronomically important plants, working with sensitive, resistant and genetically modified plants. She is also working in the area of the research of genetic diversity of the grapevine viruses and its biological meaning, recombinations, mixed infections, spatio-temporal analyses of viral accumulation, and the influence of viral infection on quantity and quality of the yield, secondary metabolite content, gene expression in grapevines, and morphological and ultrastructural changes caused by viral infection. She is the project manager of Infrastructural Program of National Institute of Biology. She is teaching at undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Nova Gorica and she is a member of the Senate at School for Viticulture and Enology at University of Nova Gorica. She is national representative of Slovenia at European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO). She has extensive organizing experiences, e.g. as National coordinator of Fascination of Plants Day.

Role

BGU will collaborate in the analysis of leaves and berries of vines under water deficit by means of a metabolomics approach (WP1). In WP2, BGU team will perform open field experiments testing new rootstock genotypes tolerant to salinity stress and their interaction with Vitis vinifera. Moreover, BGU’s activity will be focused on the comparison of the effects exerted to the scion by the different salinity tolerant rootstocks tested, including the determination of various osmoprotectants and abscisic acid.

 

Key persons involved

Prof. Aaron Fait is associate professor at Ben-Gurion University, the Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research. During his Postdoc at the MPI for Plant Molecular Physiology, Dr. Fait specialized in the field of metabolomics and metabolic natural variance, exploring regulation of seed metabolism exploiting the tomato introgression line population. He did extensive research on the maturation of grapevine comparing different genotypes, and one topic of interest is also dealing with the search of the best combination between rootstock and cultivar that will allow water to be used most efficiently in grape cultivation. Dealing with many omic approaches, he became an expert of the application of network analysis to study plant metabolism and describe the construction and analysis of correlation-based networks from (time-resolved) metabolomics data. In the past years, Dr. Fait set up the laboratory for metabolomics to investigate seed and grape metabolism and metabolic response to stress.

Prof. Naftali Lazarovitch is associate professor at Ben-Gurion University, the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research. The research carried out by Dr. Lazarovitch, aims for better understanding of water flow and solute and heat transport in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum as a crucial factor for establishing optimal protocols for farmers and decision makers. The main approach to achieve the research objectives is to raise agricultural water use efficiency using optimal irrigation and fertigation scheduling. This approach is supported by modeling (numerical and analytical), measurement and interpretation of water flow, solute and heat transport in the soil-plant-atmosphere system. Currently, Dr. Lazarovitch research activities focus on increasing agricultural productivity while maintaining sustainable environment. The orientation of his research is towards arid and semi-arid rural regions in general and the Israeli Negev in particular. The research involves low-input agro-techniques of furrow irrigation on the one hand, and greenhouse-protected crops of high value irrigated with high frequency drip irrigation, using the most advanced technologies on the other hand. The overall goal is to use environmental conditions typical to arid conditions (high solar radiation, low humidity, extreme day and night temperatures, wide open lands, marginal water) to improve the welfare of people live in arid environments, in both developing and developed countries.